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Zen-Bio, Vala Sciences, Fisher Biosciences, Evotec Tech, Olympus, Becton Dickinson, Fisher Scientific, Flemish Gov't

Zen-Bio and Vala Sciences to Co-Develop, Market Adipocyte Assay Kits
Zen-Bio and Vala Sciences have penned an agreement to co-develop and co-market kits to measure the effects of drugs on the number and size of lipid droplets, and the associations of cellular proteins with the droplets in human fat cells, the companies said this week.
Vala Sciences will contribute its expertise in cell image-based assay software and reagents, while Zen-Bio will contribute expertise in adult adipose-derived stem cells and drug screening.
“The software and reagents in these kits will allow our customers to quantify microscopic effects of drug treatments,” Ben Bueher, Zen-Bio’s director of research and development, said in a statement. “This technology has practical application for the discovery and development of drugs to treat obesity and type II diabetes.”
The collaboration is funded in part by a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health, the companies said.

Fisher Unit BioImage Licenses Redistribution Tech to Huntington’s Research and Advocacy Group
Fisher Biosciences said this week that its BioImage subsidiary has licensed its Redistribution technology to CHDI, a non-profit associated with the High Q foundation and dedicated to discovering treatments for Huntington’s disease.
CHDI will use Redistribution assays as a primary tool in its research and development efforts. Specifically, it will use the technology to monitor the intracellular translocation of the Huntingtin protein and other molecules that play essential roles in Huntington’s disease.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

Evotec Tech Sells Single-Molecule Detection Technology, IP to Olympus
Evotec Technologies has sold the “core” of its single-molecule detection technology and transferred or licensed the related IP to Olympus, the company said this week.
The move is in line with the Evotec division’s goal of focusing its business more on cellular imaging and cell-handling systems, the company said.
Evotec Tech will continue to market devices based on this IP portfolio and on supplies from Olympus as elements of its drug-discovery products, including its screening systems. The company will also continue to serve and support the entire existing customer base.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Evotec said “certain revenues” previously expected in 2006 will be transferred to Olympus. The Evotec Tech business generated around €2.5 million ($3.2 million) in revenues last year and Evotec continues to anticipate between as much as 5 percent of revenue growth in 2006 from its remaining business.
Also, Evotec said on its website that total non-operating results in the second quarter increased by approximately €5 million to €6.5 million year over year “due to a profit from the sale of intellectual property assets by Evotec Technologies to Olympus as well as better results from currency hedging.”
Evotec Tech and Olympus have previously collaborated to develop the MF20 molecular interaction analytical system, which Olympus manufactures and markets in Japan.
“Both companies will closely work together to best exploit single molecule detection for cellular applications and to ensure the compatibility of Olympus’ single molecule detection products with Evotec Technologies’ cell biology systems,” the companies said in a statement.

BD Says Biosciences Revenue Jumps 9 Percent in Fiscal Q3 as R&D Spend Soars
Becton Dickinson this week said fiscal third-quarter revenue increased 7 percent as R&D costs soared 42 percent and income grew 9 percent.
Receipts for the three months ended June 30 increased to $1.5 billion from $1.4 billion year over year.
The BD Biosciences segment reported the strongest growth, as revenues increased 9 percent to $219 million. Sales of flow cytometry instruments, reagents, and cell imaging products contributed to the rise.
R&D costs surged 42 percent to $276 million from $195 million from the comparable quarter a year ago.
Net income for the third quarter increased to $206 million from $190 million during the comparable period last year.

Fisher's Organic Revenues Inch Up 4.1 Percent in Q2 as Profit Surges 20 Percent
Fisher Scientific said this week that second-quarter sales increased 9.1 percent to $1.47 billion from $1.34 billion year over year while profit increased approximately 20 percent.
Fisher said organic revenue growth was 4.1 percent. Of the overall revenue, receipts from scientific products and services increased 9.3 percent to $1.13 billion from $1.03 billion one year ago, though 4 percent of this growth was organic.
Fisher said that organic growth in scientific products and services was driven by high single-digit growth from pharma customers, low double-digit growth from biotech customers, and high single-digit growth from academic customers.
Healthcare product and services sales totaled $356 million, an increase of 9.3 percent over the prior-year period, though organic growth was approximately 5.3 percent. Fisher said driving this growth were strong sales to reference labs and new product introductions, in particular rapid diagnostic tests and clinical chemistry products.
Fisher said second-quarter profits increased 20.3 percent to $122 million, or $.98 per basic share, from $101.4 million, or $.84 per basic share, in the same quarter in 2005.
Fisher does not break out R&D spending.
As of June 30, the company had approximately $153 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand.
Fisher said that its previously announced merger with Thermo Electron is still expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Flemish Gov't Awards Galapagos $1.6M to Develop Drug-Discovery Models
The Flemish government recently awarded €1.8 million ($1.6 million) to Galapagos for a two-year program to develop biological models for drug discovery.
Galapagos will develop in vitro cellular models, in vivo animal models, and ex vivo human models to evaluate the effectiveness of small molecules to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
As part of the grant, Galapagos will collaborate with the University of Antwerp, the University of Ghent, and the Flanders Inter-University Institute for Biotechnology.
The Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology made the award.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.